Noda set to be the next PM
The 54 year old finance minister, Yoshihiko Noda, has been elected by the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) to replace Naoto Kan as their next prime minister; Noda will be the third PM in two years.
Noda defeated trade minister, Banri Kaieda, in a runoff by 215 votes to 177. Seiji Maehara was rejected after the first ballot.
Various sources are reporting that in the first round Noda received 102 votes, Kaieda took 143 votes and Maehara 74. Apparently a deal had been struck between the Noda and Maehara camps on Sunday that whoever went through to a runoff would get the support of the other camp. Noda appears to have picked up additional votes from the other two candidates in the race, former Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Sumio Mabuchi and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Michihiko Kano, who were also eliminated in the first round.
Noda has said that he will take a tough line on fiscal policy and is expected to raise taxes to pay for the 19 trillion yen rebuild build following the earthquake and tsunami earlier this year. He is expected to raise sales tax to 10%, a doubling of the current figure.
A poll in the Yomiuri newspaper puts the DPJ on 21% of the vote, with the main opposition party, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on 23%. A massive 46% of voters say that they support no party.